(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June singles

A fine selection for June with bits of pop and heady strangeness.

Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra - Want It Back (from Theatre Is Evil, due September 2012)

Amanda Palmer is riding high with her million dollar Kickstarter success. While everybody is touting crowd-funding now, Palmer's relationship with her fans is the real key. That connection drove this kind of support to pre-pay for her new album. Palmer thanked her backers with a Brooklyn concert/party and she also sent out the album teaser Want It Back.

The heavy synth pop intro sets certain expectation, but they dissolve in the transition to a punchy new wave bounce. Staccato piano, solid bass, and a tight lyrical flow create a clever pop sound. It's impossible to hear without nodding along.

Kat McGivern - Facebook Official (from K@ndy Pop, due Summer 2012)

Kat McGivern

Kat McGivern's image seems sculpted into a perfect pop package with an indie rock edge. The look, the smooth vocals, and the tight pop arrangements are calculated to appeal. But McGivern's voice occasionally slips up and reveals a touch of rebellious insolence. And unlike the other pop princesses, McGivern has the instrumental chops and writing skills to add some depth to her image. Facebook Official is a cute contender for the summer pop hit, but some of her other originals show more personality. Give a listen at her ReverbNation site.

Yawn - Ganymede (from Happy Tears)

Ganymede has a dreamy psychedelic sheen. Reminiscent of the Beatles' Blue Jay Way, the lazy rhythmic sway is accented with sparkles of guitars. Yawn's gentle underwater groove supports the pretty vocal harmonies. Drift along and remember:
You shouldn't ever think too much
About the things that make you stay awake...
This happy sentiment seems to reflect the band's neo-hippy attitude about life in general. The whole Happy Tears EP can be downloaded from their site. Pull a copy and find a way to support this groovy band.

Bear in Heaven - Sinful Nature (from I Love You, It's Cool)

Bear in Heaven has been growing on me over the last couple of years. Their live show two years ago was a darkly intense mix of synth pop and post rock. Since then, I keep catching interesting snippets as they develop their sound. Sinful Nature showcases a heavy feel similar to that show, but Bear in Heaven has developed their ability to architect a song. The synthesizer groove sets an electronic vibe at the start, but this quickly moves into a thick psychedelic sound. Gloss over the vocals and it's a heady Krautrock trek, with a sense of foreboding. Listen to the lyrics and John Philpot's voice almost seems to come from within your own mind.

Yoonha Park's video is inspired by an acid trip viewing of Pretty Woman. The band wanted something "dark, feminine, trippy" and the video delivers.

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